Official Tesla Model 3 deliveries in China are yet to begin, but the electric car maker is already going full throttle preparing the market for the arrival of its latest electric sedan. Amidst the start of test drives and sightings of Model 3 Performance equipped with the company’s unique Power Sports aero wheels, Tesla has also added a new version of the vehicle on its Chinese configurator — the Model 3 Long Range RWD.
The addition of the Long Range RWD variant to China’s Model 3 configurator is a rather interesting move by the electric car maker, considering that this particular version was retired in the United States in favor of the lower-priced Mid Range Model 3 RWD. As could be seen from screenshots provided by Tesla owner-enthusiast @ShanghaiJayin, the Long Range Model 3 RWD is offered at 433,000 yuan (around $64,000) before options. That makes it a notable bargain compared to the Long Range AWD Model 3, which starts at 499,00 yuan (around $74,000) in China.
Breaking news today from Tesla China, New Model 3 option in China. Long Range Battery – Rear Wheel Drive. 600KM+ (New photos) #Tesla #TeslaChina #Model3 #China @ElectrekCo @Teslarati @Tesla pic.twitter.com/I6ZGgfrW5H
— JayinShanghai (@ShanghaiJayin) February 1, 2019
The Long Range RWD version of the electric sedan started the entire Model 3 disruption. Being the only configuration available for the vehicle when it started production, the vehicle carried Model 3 sales for several quarters. Despite lacking the dual motors of the Model 3 Performance, the Long Range RWD boasted some impressive specs, from its 310-mile range, its 0-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds, and its top speed of 140 mph. In the initial months following the start of its production, the Long Range Model 3 was sighted competing in drag races, and just like its larger siblings — the Model S and Model X — the electric sedan proved to be quick on its feet.
It should also be noted that the Long Range Model 3 RWD is the configuration that won over longtime gearhead and veteran auto journalist Henry Payne, who noted that he purchased the electric sedan simply because there is no other vehicle like it on the road. So impressed was Payne with his Long Range Model 3 that he eventually dubbed the vehicle as the 2018 Car of the Year in The Detroit News.
Auto teardown expert Sandy Munro, who ultimately became impressed with Tesla’s tech, also analyzed the vehicle. Munro’s change of heart with the Model 3 is well documented, as he initially disliked the vehicle due to the quality issues with its build, but he eventually admitted that he had to “eat a lot of crow” by the end of his analysis, since it turned out that the electric sedan’s batteries, motors, suspension, and electronics, were completely top-notch.
Tesla’s addition of the Long Range RWD Model 3 for the Chinese market could prove to be a strategic move for the electric car maker, as the vehicle’s relatively low price compared to the Long Range AWD and Performance variants could entice the country’s more budget-conscious car buyers. With a price of around $64,000, the Long Range Model 3 RWD offers China-based customers a chance to purchase a Tesla at a price far below the brand’s usual costs (the Model S 100D, for example, is listed around 849,600 yuan or $126,000 in China). Ultimately, the vehicle would likely be able to play the part of the Model 3’s low-cost variant in China, at least until Tesla is able to start manufacturing more affordable versions of the sedan in Gigafactory 3.